Network Design Principles: Cost-benefit

A design can be evaluated using the cost-benefit principle. A design is good if the benefits outweigh the cost. From a designer perspective, a cost-benefit analysis can assess the financial returns associated with adding a design feature. The designer should also evaluate benefits and costs from the user’s perspective so that design decisions are not made based on financial cost alone. A successful design prioritizes the features that have high benefits and low costs.

Cost-benefit analysis can be used to decide if the cost of adding redundancy to the network outweigh the potential financial losses from an unexpected failure. From user’s perspective, adding more security constraints to the network should be evaluated against user’s accessibility. Offering high Internet bandwidth may enable remote work and collaboration among users and save money spent on travel; therefore, it can be considered an example of low cost and high benefit feature.

It is important in cost-analysis evaluation to identify the costs and the benefits correctly. Using that latest networking technology in a new design may add little value to users if the new technology does not offer perceived improved service to users. Similarly, adding unnecessary redundancy may increase cost and complexity of the network without improving reliability.

Read about other Network Design Principles.